May 18-24, 2001
Vol. 31, Issue 18
Back Issues
All the University's a stage
Waters' mission runs deep
Two graduates honored for their service to humanity
Student aids the homeless

Mellon winner redefines "Jim Crow" era

Pre-med student shares his passion for music
Fast-track grad driven to help his family
Student leads effort to install Braille on Lawn room doors
Creative recycling: Students convert crate into studio
Lawson lives richly
Can you go home again? Issues facing international students
Education delayed but not denied
Weaver finds election laws discriminatory
Quilter gets A+
Students to go abroad on Fulbright scholarships
Weddle will research Peruvian women
Graduate rich in lessons learned
Anthony defender of public good
Affinnih plays her cards strategically
After earning degree in two years, graduate going for two more
Student develops new sign language system
Student trio pushes for late-night joe

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Graduation 2001

All the University's a stage

By Jane Ford

The Whethermen
Rebecca Arrington
Patrick Gantz, sporting a Hawaiian shirt (second row, left), is one of the founders of the student improv group, The Whethermen. He’s pictured here with five of the other six members of the cast who are graduating. They are (front row, left to right): Laura Personick, Ryan Blackledge, Margaret Mincks; (second row, right): Barry Hite; and (top row) Greg Pokusa. Not pictured is graduating member Jon Blake.

Two performance groups, founded by three graduating students, have enriched the arts at the University and given students alternative theatrical voices on Grounds.
Steven Shepard is the common thread for the two groups, Spectrum Theater and the Whethermen, which he created with Kevin Neher and Patrick Gantz, respectively.

Spectrum Theater co-founders, Shepard (government and foreign affairs) and Neher (government and economics) joined their talents to produce a multi-racial production of “Romeo and Juliet” to address issues of racial divide they saw as first-year students.

Drawing on his acting and directing experience at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Great Falls, Va., Shepard was the group’s artistic director. Neher, a Richmond native, contributed his organizational and fundraising skills.

To bring the racial groups together and make the project a success, they enlisted the help of another University group, the Paul Robeson Players. “We saw the project as a venue for the diverse student body to interact,” said Shepard.

The project was an overwhelming success. More than 2,400 students attended the performances followed by panel discussions on race issues.

Following “Romeo and Juliet,” the student company, adopting the name Spectrum Theater, continued to produce issue-oriented programs.

In 1999 they looked to the incoming class for inspiration and produced “Voices of the Class.” Through readings, monologues, skits and musical numbers based on admission essays, they painted a portrait of the class that answered the question, “Who are we?” The production was so successful, it is now a regular feature of the new-student Orientation Program. Full story.

Karen Waters and daughter Kelsey
Stephanie Gross
Karen Waters and her daughter, Kelsey

Waters’ mission runs deep

By Katherine Jackson

Karen Waters has been a bus driver, a consultant, a teacher, a wife and a mother — all while working toward a dual degree in history and teaching from U.Va. It’s been a 20-year trek to her procession on the Lawn May 20.

Waters, 37, credits her educational success to supportive teachers, such as Eleanor Wilson, assistant professor of education in U.Va.’s Curry School of Education. Wilson taught Waters as part of the Piedmont Virginia Community College/U.Va. teaching fellows program.

Says Wilson: “Karen represents and epitomizes the best of our future teachers. She extended herself in a variety of quiet yet significant ways to help and mentor other students.”

For her efforts, Waters received U.Va.’s “outstanding master of teaching award” in April.

Flexible jobs also helped Waters attain her degree. One such job included a stint as a Jaunt bus driver for elderly and disabled residents on weekends and nights. For safety reasons, Waters donned boyish-looking attire during night shifts as she and her sleeping daughter traveled the city and surrounding counties.

In addition to her for-pay jobs, Waters has spent time volunteering in several area schools and been involved in more than a dozen civic organizations. She’s also not afraid to stand up for her rights.

Although rental fees were waived while she was president of U.Va.’s Housing Association at Copeley Hill, Waters took on the administration to get lead-based paint removed from their buildings. U.Va.’s Office of the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer intervened, and the lead-abatement project was successful. That act led Waters to a position representing state Sen. Emily Couric at forums and meetings until last summer.

Like other nontraditional U.Va. students, Waters was hesitant about returning to college because she hadn’t done well during a previous attempt in 1980. Friends and colleagues at various places where she worked and volunteered encouraged her to enroll at PVCC. Full story.


© Copyright 2001 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia

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Matt Kelly

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Jane Ford
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Katherine Jackson
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